This summer I resurrected an event that I had conducted my first 4 summers on staff here. For whatever reason, last summer I failed to lead what at that time we were promoting as an Adult Vacation Bible School. I was scolded by some of my senior adults (very nicely of course) for not having offered it because they told me they really missed it. I have to confess that I missed it as well. Each summer it's been one of the highlights of the entire year to get together each evening of one week (actually we go Monday through Thursday night) and study a book of the Bible.
I suppose the format is similar to the days when January Bible studies were common in Southern Baptist life, only we choose to do it in the summer. In the past years we've studied Romans, Colossians, James, and 2nd Timothy. I have to confess that Romans was a real challenge to cover in four nights. I much prefer taking a shorter book where you can at least spend one evening looking at a chapter or so. In previous years, we split the evening in two parts with either a missionary report from a team that had recently gone on a missions trip, a musical program, or other speaker, followed by refreshments, followed by the Bible study time.
This year I've decided with the name change to simplify the format as well. We are studying 1 John this year and my plans are to take about 45-50 minutes each night to cover the Bible study portion and then being good Baptists, we have to have some refreshments and fellowship time afterwards. Last night it was cookies and brownies. Ice cream is on the agenda for this evening and then cakes and pies on Wednesday night. By Thursday, we'll try to both wrap up the study of chapter 5 and finish off whatever leftover desserts there are by that time.
We had a good group of about 80 in attendance last night. That number down just a bit from previous years, but it's still a wonderful group to show up mid-summer to study the Scriptures together. I am energized by the teaching opportunity as well as the gift of teaching is the one that God seems to have most blessed me with to serve His church.
Next week it's off to Guatemala once more for another round of leadership training classes with pastors and lay leaders in the western region. Our children's minister will be joining me as a conference leader as well as a colleague with the BGCM who leads out in the area of church relations. It should be another exciting week of ministry and fellowship with these pastors whom I've come to love deeply.